We all know him and none of us can stand him.

We all know the “nice guy.”

Fairy tales depict him as Prince Charming. Love stories show him as that ideal man that every girl is pining for. He is Jake from “Sixteen Candles” or Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman.”

He is the one that makes us ordinary girls into princesses.

He was the perfect, idealized boy in the movies that everyone fell in love with. He was often the football star, and despite being in the “popular” crowd, he wasn’t the party boy. He had good values, and he chose the ordinary girl against all odds. He treated her like a princess.

She was lucky to have him.

I cannot stand this character in real life.

He translates into real life as the smart kid that doesn’t party. He’s not a nerd, but he’s smart enough. He might not be movie-style handsome, but he’s probably decent looking enough. He most likely isn’t the type to go to the bar and take shots, and probably has never done drugs. He usually comes from a stable family background, and he has rarely ever gotten into trouble.

But the most important thing that makes him the “nice guy” is that he treats his girl like a princess.

I dated this character once briefly.

He was in one of my classes. He was an introvert, so he didn’t go out and drink or do drugs. He was formal, proper, and smart. He was normally well-dressed, and he showered me in compliments. He told me that I was the prettiest girl in the class, and he paid for every date, from meals to activities. He always held the door open for me. He helped me out of my seat. He planned out our dates.  

He treated me like a princess.

And I felt completely smothered.

His shallow compliments on my appearance revealed how he really saw me. He had a condescending undertone in his polite comments. My desire to do something was often dismissed by this undertone. He took away my ability to make choices very subtly and carefully so it never seemed like he was taking anything from me.

If I wanted to do something or even didn’t want to do something that he wanted, he would respond with phrases like:

“It’s not that big a deal.”

“Why would you want to do that?”

“Stop overreacting.”

It was just subtle enough to put me down, and concealed enough to not be initially noticed. And he probably didn’t mean it in that subtle, condescending way. He was the “nice guy.” I probably was overreacting, and no one wants to be that crazy bitch.

He had me believing that I was overreacting.

Besides, he was the “nice guy.” And I was the ordinary girl that was lucky to have him.

The problem with “nice guys” is that they are not actually nice. They are just “nice.”

They are the chivalrous men that do everything right by the book. They treat their ladies like princesses. They shower us in gifts and compliments. They tell us that we’re pretty. They hold the door for us, they help us out of our seat, and they do the heavy lifting for us.

So in return, these “nice guys” are entitled to their women.

Why shouldn’t they feel entitled?

They paid for our meals. They held the door open for us. They did our heavy lifting. We didn’t have to lift a finger. They bought us pretty things. They tell us that we’re beautiful. They did everything by the book. They were the “nice guys,” and they treated us like princesses.

So who are we to oppose them?

Why would we ever deny our princes the right to our bodies?

In fairy tales, the prince is often the hero. He saves the princess from a wicked villain that kidnapped her, forcing her to submit to him against her will. The hero comes in, fighting off adversity to save his beloved princess. Once he defeats the villain, he marries her. And they supposedly live happily ever after.

Very few fairy tale princesses deny their hero princes of themselves.

“Nice guys” see themselves as heroes.

Maybe because they don’t party or do drugs. Maybe because they never really got into trouble in school, or they never broke the rules. Maybe because they were the teachers’ favorite students, or they were class president. Maybe because they were chivalrous, and treated their women as princesses. Maybe just because they didn’t adhere to the “bad boy” stereotype. 

If they treat their women like princesses, then they must be heroes. Right?

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It’s not like they’re villains. Right?

The villain is the evil character that snatches the princess against her will. She has no say, and their relationship is not consensual. The villain often locks up the princess, submitting her to unimaginable torture that the children’s storybooks don’t mention. She is his pet, his pretty little thing, and his trinket to dangle around.

Suddenly, the “nice guy” is a lot more characteristic of the villain than the hero.

I’m no princess. I’m not the ordinary girl pining for some man. I’m definitely not ordinary, for better or for worse. I don’t need you to hold my door open, pay for my meals, or help me lift heavy things. I can open my own damn door, I’d rather spend my own money, and I like being strong enough to lift heavy objects, from suitcases to furniture. I don’t want to be treated like a damsel in distress. I’ve had my share of hardships, just like anyone else. And I have also overcome them on my own.

Even if you do happen to save my life, I definitely do not owe you my body.

Villains are not always who we think they are, and “nice guys” are rarely heroes.